The Xenia collection at GARF is growing every month. We are often surprised when we grow - out the new Xenia species that arrive in our trade boxes. When we received the beautiful boxes of Xenia from the Smithsonian Natural History Museum we were certain that we had almost all of the different types of Xenia that were in the hobby. We continue be pleasantly surprised as new types are acquired.
When a new cutting of Xenia arrives at the foundation we stabilize it in Sally Jo's office before we make the first cuttings. After the cuttings are growing we place them in several of our systems next to Xenia that seem to have the same physical characteristics. By growing these combinations of Xenia for several months we are able to see how they look when they are grown under different lighting conditions.
|This picture shows the Beautiful Pink Creeping Xenia growing in Sally Jo's SPS coral reef. This type of Xenia pulses very slowly. You can see one of the polyps in the middle of this picture that is closed. When this coral is growing in moderate to slow water flow it is very easy to see the polyps pulse. The Beautiful Pink Creeping Xenia often only closes one finger at a time instead of pumping in a rhythmic motion. The Beautiful Pink Creeping Xenia provides a good contrast in a collection of Xenia. We often use the pink creeping Xenia below taller species. The Beautiful Pink Creeping Xenia is a great coral to grow if you've always wanted to try one of the Xenia family.
This picture shows one of the smaller strains of the Beautiful Pink Creeping Xenia. This strain was sent to us last year from the Smithsonian Natural History Museum.This strain tends to be a rich golden shade of pinkish brown, and it does not seem to grow as fast as the other strains.
|The ability to coexist with other corals is very important because we use these corals to decorate many of our Bonsai Reefs. This picture shows how this Xenia lives next to both Zoanthids and Sarcophyton corals. |
One of the most beautiful effects that Sally Jo achieves in her Bonsai Reefs are the multicolored combinations of Xenia. The Beautiful Pink Creeping Xenia is a great filler to use in the parts of your new reef that are not full of corals. Many people around the country are trading small rocks that are covered with the Beautiful Pink Creeping Xenia for the corals that they want at their local fish stores.
|Some of the taller Xenia such as Sally Jo's Portland Pulser make great backgrounds in some of our reefs. Larry Jackson sent us one Brown pulsing Xenia that is very easy to grow on the back glass. It is simple to remove the extra Xenia with a credit card. After we have scraped the Xenia off of the back glass we cut them into six equal parts. We use a sharp pair of scissors to slice the stock so that each piece has some polyps on it. These cuttings of Xenia are then dropped in the gravel tray so they can attach to pieces of gravel.|
|The Gravel tray that we use for the Xenia cuttings is 16 in. wide and 24 in. long. This tray is only 5 in. deep and it contains about 1 in. of gravel and sea shells. This cutting tray is one of three connected chambers that have slotted dividers between them. This Gravel tray is stacked on top of four other trays that each have three chambers. The top three trays have five-40 W fluorescent lights over them.
The water for the 15 chambers flows from the top overflow of the 300 gal. SPS coral reef. The bottom four chambers are stacked in a staggered manner that leaves one-third of each chamber exposed. A 40 W light is placed above each of these stack chambers; this leaves the other two-thirds of each of these chambers in partial darkness. The dark portions of these chambers support large growths of multiple species of sponges.
The water from the top overflow on the 300 gal. sps coral reef flows into the top three chambers that are used for growing cuttings. The chamber closest to the 300 gal. reef and the center chamber each have small power heads that move the water in a circular motion. Third chamber on the top layer has an air hose that releases a steady stream of bubbles. The air hose is attached to a reef plug and we do not use an air stone. The release of the larger bubbles creates a steady water current that does not disrupt the Xenia cuttings. When we use a small power head in the Xenia cutting tray all of the cuttings tend to settle in one pile.
The Xenia cuttings attach to the gravel in about 10 days and we then glue them to reef plugs. It is very easy to glue the gravel to the Aragocrete reef plugs. After we have glued the Xenia to the reef plugs we move them in to the plastic racks in the grow out tanks.
This small section of the bonsai coral reef houses eight species of sps corals and five species of Xenia. Sally Jo creates some of the most beautiful combination of corals in the reefs in her office. Sally Jo has taken over 13,600 Digital Pictures of our reefs since September 24, 1999. Each of these original pictures measures 1600 pixels by 1200 pixels and in a compressed JPG state they each take 1.4 MB. We now store these research pictures on rewritable compact disks that store 650 MB each. We use one CD every two days:)
This is a small section in the upper left-hand corner of my 150 gal. sps coral reef. The top of this Aragocrete Arch is covered with a lush growth of the Beautiful Pink Creeping Xenia. We trim and control this Xenia growth with a pair of 12 inch stainless steel tweezers. There are 16 exotic sps corals growing in this picture and it is important that we control the growth of the Beautiful Pink Creeping Xenia. Luckily it is very easy to remove large pieces of the Xenia without damaging the main part of the colony.
This picture of the Beautiful Pink Creeping Xenia shows the lighter colored line on all of the polyps. This two tone effect causes the Beautiful Pink Creeping Xenia to appear to change colors as it moves in the water currents.
One of the best ways to control this Xenia in a show tank is to mount the cutting and the reef plug it comes on on top of a small piece of live rock. It is very easy to remove the small piece of live rock before the Beautiful Pink Creeping Xenia grows down on to the larger live rocks.
The next step in this process is to put several drops of Reef Glue on the part of the new rocks that will touch down on the live rock. You can now put the new rocks under water and rub it around in small circles so that the two portions of reef Glue are attached.
Xenia, more than any other species benefits from domestication. Xenia has had a reputation of being difficult to ship, hard to grow, and prone to crashing. Domestication has truly created an entirely new generation of captive raised Xenia.
We are having a special on all of the coral cuttings. WHEN YOU PURCHASE 5 AT THE REGULAR PRICE OF $100 WE WILL GIVE YOU TWO FREE CORALS!. If you have any questions please use this form to ask them. WE WILL PHONE YOU AND HELP YOU PICK THE BEST CORALS FOR YOUR REEF AQUARIUM. We will continue to provide the most current data on reef farming for both education and profit.